As a Nutrition Educator with Maine SNAP-Ed, I have the privilege of teaching an array of classes. I love all of them. Whether I am in a preschool tasting fresh fruits and vegetables or at a local church cooking with adults, there is never a dull moment. While I am technically the teacher for that moment, I am always learning something new from my participants.
During my most recent class of Eat Well, Play Hard at a local preschool, I was so impressed with the kids’ ability to make connections between a healthy diet, physical exercise and their health. Sitting in a circle on the alphabet carpet, we each shared our favorite fruit of vegetable we had tried during my visits over the last school year as well as our favorite way to exercise.
Many of the kids stated that riding their bicycle was what they liked best. Whether it was green, red, pink, had training wheels or not, this was definitely a common theme. Nearing the last few students, the teacher commented, “There is something I know many of you LOVE to do, that I bet you don’t even think of as exercise.”
A sweet little girl with a big smile replied, “You mean jammin’ out?”
Yes! That is exactly what I mean, jammin’ out. Children have a keen way of reminding us of what we easily forget. Living a healthy life does not have to mean putting one hundred miles on your bike each week or working out at the gym early every morning. It can, and kudos to those who have incorporated this into their lives. But for many of us, it can be as simple as dancing, walking the dog or vacuuming. Why not try dancing while you vacuum?
So, while I do clock at least fifty miles on my bike each week, I learned something new about setting a good example for my children. Kids are filled with energy (already knew that), and should be encouraged to do what they love. One way we can support them in leading a healthy lifestyle is to help them identify choices in diet and exercise they already make.
A little jammin’ out is good for all of us.
Sarah Carter is a Nutrition Educator with SNAP-Ed and Program Coordinator for Healthy Oxford Hills, your local Healthy Maine Partnership and a project of Stephens Memorial Hospital. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 739-6222
Reprinted with permission of the Advertiser Democrat.